Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently announced a second round of quantitative easing (QE2) to help the struggling economy recover. The move drew widespread criticism both domestically and internationally.
President Barack Obama felt the need to defend Bernanke’s decisions last week while overseas in Asia.
What really bothered me about QE2 is the media’s attempt to portray it as an issue which Democrats support and Republicans oppose. There have been such media reports as “Republican Economists Take on Ben Bernanke and QE2.”
The media is already trying to present this as a partisan issue; Republicans are against QE2 and Democrats support it. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Opposition to QE2 has become a bipartisan issue. Below are some very prominent left-leaning economists and investors who oppose the program.
Let’s start with Joseph Stiglitz, who is a very left-leaning economist but an open-minded one (unlike Paul Krugman, who I think is merely a Democratic party hack).
Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize for economics. He also is one of the most respected economists in the world and served under the Clinton administration.
Stiglitz had the following to say about QE2: “I’m very suspect of quantitative easing. There is a real risk this is going to end badly, as the two previous bubbles ended badly.”
Warren Buffett is one of the greatest investors and CEOs of our time. Buffett was an avid supporter of Obama during the presidential campaign in 2008 and is famous for his repeated calls for higher taxes on the rich.
While Buffett didn’t say he is outright against QE2 (he usually speaks very diplomatically), he indicated strongly that he thinks the program is a poor idea in a recent interview on CNBC.
Bill Gross is the CEO of Pimco, the world’s largest bond-management firm with more than $1 trillion in assets. According to public data, Gross donated several thousand dollars to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and to Obama’s 2008.
Gross is strongly opposed to QE2. He had some very harsh words, calling it a Ponzi scheme. He predicted that it can lead to a 20 percent decline in the dollar.
Jeremy Grantham is the chairman of GMO, with more than $100 billion in assets. Grantham is known for his left-leaning views and his strong fears of global warming.
Grantham recently titled his quarterly letter “Night of the Living Fed,” in which he stated 18 reasons why QE2 won’t work.
There are many other prominent investors and economists who oppose the program. While this isn’t a full list, here are some names worthy of mention: Jim Grant, John Taylor, Seth Klarman, David Einhorn and Nassim Taleb.
The next time anyone says that opposition to QE2 is a Republican issue, they are either lying or misinformed.
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